Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sunflower League's Top 10 Most Underrated Players

Olathe North's Cole Murphy. Photo KC Star.
Story by Johnny Carver, special to the Sunflower League Football Blog. (statistics as of 10/2)

1Cole Murphy – Olathe North, Quarterback
Stats: 44 for 75 passing, 614 yards, 5 TDs; 62 rushes, 372 yards, 6 TDs

Murphy can both throw and run.  Being a dual threat in the pocket has made the junior difficult to contain.  In four games, he already has 11 TDs and has collected 986 yards of total offense.  The Eagles’ two losses have been by a combined four points, so they have been in almost every game.  Murphy has been spectacular so far this season.  He currently ranks sixth in the league in rushing yards, and is first among quarterbacks.  He ranks first in completions, second in rushing TDs, second in passing yards, and is fifth in passing percentage.  He was named as an honorable mention player in the weekly MVP Ratings, but he might need to be in more consideration as time passes.

2. Jake Seurer – Olathe South, Quarterback/Safety
Stats: 19 for 38 passing, 335 yards, 5 TDs; 38 solo tackles, 70 total tackles, 1 INT

It’s impressive that Seurer is tied for the lead in both the state and the league in total tackles as only a junior.  He has been a force on defense, also being tied second in the league in solo tackles as well.  This is also his first year as the starting quarterback, and he’s done a great job.  The Falcons are so far 3-1 and are ranked in the Top five of our Power Rankings.  It isn't too common to see a player be so successful on both sides of the ball.  A big game from him would be huge this week in their rivalry matchup against Olathe East.

3. Devin Shockley – SM Northwest, Middle Linebacker
Stats: 38 solo tackles, 70 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 sack

Shockley is currently ranked second in the league in solo tackles and forced fumbles.  In fact, he even recovered one of those fumbles.  The senior has almost doubled the next highest amount of total tackles on his team.  At 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds, he is a very big and physical linebacker. Perhaps playing on a one-win team has contributed to him flying under the radar.

4. Adam Harter – Olathe Northwest, Wildcat Quarterback/Wide Receiver/Outside Linebacker
Stats: 7 for 8 passing, 44 yards, 0 TDs; 21 carries, 68 yards, 2 TDs; 12 solo tackles, 17 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 INT, 1 TD, 2 forced fumbles

The junior is Mr. Everything.  He can throw, run, catch, and hit.  Put him at any position and he will give you something.  At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, he is both athletic and strong, and tough to bring down.  He had two key touchdowns to keep the Ravens alive against SM East, when they lost on a desperation pass.  Currently, he ranks third in the league in passing percentage, even though he’s not even a primary quarterback.  This week in a matchup with SM North he will have plenty of opportunity to have a big game and rack up the stats.

 5. Jordan Donnelson – Leavenworth, Middle Linebacker
Stats: 16 solo tackles, 39 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks

Donnelson’s first game was astounding in Leavenworth’s 33-0 shutout loss against SM East.  He led the league that week by a huge margin in total tackles with 20.  The great defensive play by him along with his brother Jarred, however, has clearly not enough for the Pioneers.  Being on the second-worst team in the league is a big reason why his performance has been overshadowed.

6. Connor Leach – Olathe East, Quarterback
Stats: 32 for 58 passing, 495 yards passing, 7 TDs; 11 rushes, 33 yards, 3 TDs

Olathe East has been rolling on offense, much to the help of Leach.  The senior ranks second in passing touchdowns and fourth in passing yards, and he has 10 total TDs so far this season.  The Hawks will need a big game out of Leach if they want to come up with a win in their rivalry game against Olathe South.

7. Ethan Wall – Olathe Northwest, Safety
Stats: 18 solo tackles, 27 total tackles, 1 INT, 2 forced fumbles

As a junior in his first varsity appearance, he was a big reason why Olathe Northwest was able to edge SM Northwest, 21-14, in their overtime thriller.  He had five total tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery in the game.  His first game performance was among the best single game defensive performances in the league so far this season.  You could call it beginners luck, but he has since forced two fumbles and recorded 22 more tackles.  His team may have one win, but they have been in the mix in almost every game.

8. Andre Pettit – SM West, Inside Linebacker
Stats: 12 solo tackles, 36 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble

Pettit has been the one of the most productive players on a very talented Viking defense.  The senior leads the team in total tackles and has already recorded two sacks.  He has also been responsible for two turnovers so far.  The rest of the collected talent on defense has perhaps overshadowed his performance, with players such as Austin Chambers, Andre Maloney, Cooper Arner, and Lee Spight.

9. Drew Green – Lawrence, Running Back/Inside Linebacker
Stats: 66 carries, 365 yards, 2 TDs; 25 solo tackles, 52 total tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble

The senior leads the league in fumbles caused with four, ranks third in the league in total tackles, and is tied for second in sacks as a linebacker.  He also has proven to be among the best running backs in the league.  He ranks seventh in the league in rushing yards and already has two touchdowns. 

10.  Nick Perez – SM North, Wide Receiver/Safety
Stats: 9 receptions, 237 yards, 1 TD; 8 solo tackles, 13 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss

It’s pretty obvious that Perez’ performance at receiver has been overshadowed by the fact that SM North has yet to really compete for four quarters in game this season.  But with a freshman starting quarterback and a struggling offense, what Perez has accomplished is astonishing.  He currently ranks fourth in the league in receiving yards and has a receiving touchdown.  He is also ranked fourth on his team in total tackles, so he has at least done something to help their defense.  With a season like this, it’s always nice to find some positive.

Johnny Carver can be reached by email at, and follow him on Twitter @CarverJohnny.

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